So, what is Ash Wednesday like when you work in church? I know you can't wait to find out. So, I'll tell you all there is to tell.
I arrived at church at 6:40 a.m. and dropped my things in my office. Then walked over to church and greeted our deacon, letting him know we had altar servers for Mass. Pulled out the collection baskets and bag and put them in the correct location. To my surprise another deacon showed up, but I was still on to distribute ashes since we wanted to have four stations. By now, it's time to get up and get ready to read the opening announcements. Mass proceeded as usual and all went well. After the 7 a.m. Mass and put things in order for the 8 a.m. Mass. I helped take up the collection and then went to the office to do some work.
The phone calls were pretty constant, mainly about, surprise, "What time are you giving out ashes?" I was getting annoyed, but then decided to be very nice to everyone who called with the question as part of my Lenten sacrifices.
At noon we had a service and ash distribution. I again had to help with ashes and the collection. We had a possible wipe crisis but my co-worker found some wipes in the office. I will tell you, ashes really stick to your thumb!
On returning to the office I was ready to really attack some work, but that didn't happen. My son stopped by after getting his ashes and we chatted for a bit. Then the phone calls. In the end I tied up some loose ends, but there are plenty hanging still. At 4 p.m. it was back to church for another service and ash distribution. Only this time, we had a real crisis. A woman passed out in the pew. So, thankfully there were 2 paramedics and 3 nurses on hand to help. We got her in a wheelchair and then she started vomiting. We called 911 and they came to take her to the hospital. She'll be fine as rumor has it she took pain medication and other medication without eating because it was a day to fast! Reminder, if your meds need food and you are well over a certain age, eat please.
I was pretty shaken up with all this and still had to distribute ashes and take up the collection. But, of course, with some help from above I muddled through it all.
Back in my office, I was ready to go home when Sr. Marta came by and wanted me to help clarify some questions she had on a form. A form in Spanish in regard to marriage. So, we discussed and agreed but to be sure, I called my friend, who works in the tribunal and we were right. Which, honestly, Sr. Marta usually is and so am I, so when both of us agree, well, it would be almost impossible for us to be wrong. That sounds prideful, but it is true.
I finally shut things down for the night and went home.
So, there is an Ash Wednesday. Not much time for prayer or contemplation, though I hope I helped others pray and contemplate. Tomorrow is my day off, so I'll have some time to myself.